As an Etsy seller I see how it can work out well for those shops who have lightweight items to sell like paper products, jewelry, etc. since these things only cost a minimal amount to ship. Those of us who sell heavier items like pottery, furniture, and heavy sculptures will price ourselves right out of the market by having to mark up everything to cover the cost of shipping to the farthest distance.
Example; If I ship priority mail to a nearby state the cost is less than $10 compared to shipping across the country where it is $25. I'll have to raise my price by $15 more than the lowest shipping rate just in case someone from California buys one of my pieces.
What bothers me even more is that I also am forced to absorb the cost of that "free shipping" if a customer chooses to return an item which means I could LOSE $25 on a single sale because restocking fees are a no-no on Etsy. Josh Silverman: Are you going to reimburse me for that?
It's one thing if Etsy wants to encourage sellers to offer this but to punish those who do not opt in by pushing them to the bottom of the algorithm search is bad business. I have tried "free shipping" on the few lighter weight items I sell (and didn't even raise the price); got nothing but crickets. I refuse to raise the sell price of an $85 ceramic birdhouse to $110 to disguise shipping costs. I am seriously thinking about leaving as are many others who are in a similar situation unless Etsy stops trying to make us fit into the Amazon mold.
Etsy needs to remember that they are a marketplace of creative SMALL sellers with small profit margins who just want to be recognized for their own unique individual talents. We are not into mass production. Turning us into another Amazon is exactly the opposite of who we are as creators and if corporate loses sight of this it will come back to bite them in the end.